The Science of Mental Wellness

Lawrence Choy, MD
Thrive Global
Published in
7 min readNov 7, 2018

--

The Wellness Brain

Illustration by Aukarawatcyber (Shutterstock)

Wellness practices have existed for centuries and millennia in promoting health, harmony, and balance. However, until the past few decades, we were unable to provide a “hard science” explanation for their underlying benefits. We now have substantial scientific evidence explaining how wellness habits promote our brain to change and rewire itself through a lifelong process termed Neuroplasticity.

Our brain functions in a nonlinear (inverted-U shaped) relationship with stress level, such that optimal performance is achieved at moderate levels of stress.

Neuroplasticity depends on experience. Fundamentally, we need to engage in experiences that provide sensory, emotional, and intellectual arousal. Our brain functions in a nonlinear (inverted-U shaped) relationship with stress level, such that optimal performance is achieved at moderate levels of stress (Fig. 5). Too little or too much arousal impairs functioning. It is important that we push and challenge ourselves to moderate levels of stress, past our natural comfort zone, to promote neuroplasticity in favor of growth and resilience (Fig 6.). Equally important is subsequently getting sufficient rest, nourishment, and rejuvenation necessary for the recovery period. The deliberate and active maintenance of this perpetual back-and-forth state of balance between…

--

--

Lawrence Choy, MD
Thrive Global

Stanford Trained Psych MD in Silicon Valley. MentalWellness, Adult ADHD, & Clinical Neuroscience Expert. Co-Founder & Medical Director of Elite Focus Clinic.